Benefit Concert Raises Over $300 For Hurricane Harvey Victims

by Rose Brennan & Daniel Molina

Asst. Editor & Editor

An 80-degree day at the end of September might seem a little unusual to some.  But for Manhattan College Student Government and Student Engagement, the beautiful weather could not have come at a more opportune time.

In Jasper Hall’s backyard, students gathered for free food but, more importantly, to raise money for those in Texas affected by the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey.

Following the massive success of Quadchella, the music festival on the quadrangle held earlier this month, the Office of Student Engagement decided to hold a similar event to maximize student participation and donation.

“We wanted to bridge together everyone across campus […]. I think it’s important that everybody on campus works together for this cause,” said Ryan Quattromani, the senior class vice president said. “We saw how successful [Quadchella] was, and we said ‘hey, why don’t we just do something where students perform and we get the food trucks again for a good cause.”

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Because Student Government wasn’t able to take money straight from its budget and donate it to the cause, they had to be creative to develop a way in which they could directly help the hurricane survivors. It is in this environment where they came up with the idea of buying the food trucks and asking the students to donate voluntarily to the cause.

The students demonstrated their support for Harvey’s victims in a number of ways.  There was a donation table near the entrance of the event.  MC’s Green Dot program held a Kan Jam tournament.  Hayden Greene, director of MC’s multicultural center, offered a station to participate in the center’s ongoing “Halo Project” to offer love and support to Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and a number of other areas recently impacted by natural disasters.

But for most of the students, the support was as simple as just attending the event with their friends and supporting their fellow students in wake of the disasters.

Throughout the event, students poured in and out, mainly for the ice cream truck, Korean barbecue tacos and pulled pork sandwiches.

“Honestly, I really was enticed by the free food,” Olivia Anderle, freshman student, said. “But the hurricanes were so devastating, it’s great that we can come together as a school together to try to help out. I think if there’s one thing that college kids love it’s free anything and food most especially. It’s very smart to use food trucks to get donations.”

The food may have made them come, but the performances provided by several members of the MC performing arts department made them stay.

The first of many performances was by a small group of students who sang “Send it On” by Disney’s Friends for Change.  The group included vocalists Isabel Quinones, Thomas Leo, Hannah Lee, Christian D’Agostino and Audrey Sabatino; bassist Paul Neiro; pianists Ryan L’Abbate and percussionist Miguel Diaz.  Most of these students were involved in the college’s concert choir, MC Singers.

Following the performance by the singing ensemble, a student jazz group performed for the crowd.  Many of the performers from the previous act were also members of this ensemble, along with saxophonist Taizo Enya, percussionist Greg Zajac and trumpet player Kevin Donald.

The performances then extended beyond the performing arts department into the athletic department as well.  Fresh off of their fifth place win at the national level, the MC Dancers performed a preview of one of their new dances for the crowd.

After the Dancers finished, the event was beginning to wind down, but that didn’t stop the performing arts department.  Junior Anna Occhino, as well as Director of Performing Arts Andrew Bauer, Ph.D., took to the stage and closed the event’s performance aspect out, notably with Aretha Franklin’s showstopper “Respect”.

“Because within our mission and our Lasallian values we find service to be such a strong factor, even when there are not devastating factors you can find people at Manhattan College having service weekdays and weekends… it’s kind of just in the mission,” Micaela Bishop, student body president, said. “I think that, when it’s necessary at a time like this, we step together really quickly and organize, and we are successful at doing so.”

John Bennett, director of student engagement, realized after Quadchella that the formula of food trucks and students performing at on campus events was a good way to showcase the college’s talent and help a cause.

For him, the first step for Student Engagement is to donate the $367.69 raised at the event, and then keep in touch with the performers for future events like halftime shows or concerts.

“We’d love to do more of these type of events,” Bennett said. “It shows how the involvement of the student body is really high; they show up to things, and the big events are still coming up, the semester is just starting.”